Although I love stuffed peppers on their own, sometimes I feel that there is something missing, especially when I need to serve them to my guests.
My mother always used to make boiled potatoes with stuffed peppers when I was growing up.
She poured the sauce over them, and it was so delicious that I can still feel the taste in my mouth. I am mouthwatering as I write this too.
Although boiled potatoes are a simple and tasty solution, there are many other options as well.
Read on and find out what to serve with stuffed peppers and please your palate.
Further Reading: How To Store Peppers And Enjoy Your Favorite Veggies All Year Round
My Favorite Stuffed Peppers Recipe
Before we move on to preparing side dishes, we must make sure that the main dish is the best it can be. I have many recipes for stuffed peppers that are quite satisfying, but one of them holds a special place in my heart. You have probably already guessed that it is the one that was given to me by my mother.
Before you conclude that I like it only for sentimental reasons, I must tell you that it is not true. You know that I am very objective when it comes to cooking, and this recipe for stuffed peppers is really delicious; the fact that it is my mother’s only makes it more precious to me. In fact, there is not a single person who tried these peppers and have not asked me for the recipe!
Before you start, be aware that you will need almost two hours to prepare this dish. It is a traditional dish that was made back in the old times when most women stayed home and had a lot of time to dedicate to cooking. If you are a busy, working mum, feel free to skip this recipe or pass it on to your mother-in-law when she calls you to lunch. 🙂
Related: What Is The Difference Between Pepperoncini and Banana Pepper?
You will need…
For the rice:
- One cup of long grain white rice (uncooked)
- Two cups of water
For the sauce:
- One diced onion
- One tablespoon of olive oil
- Two cups of marinara sauce
- One cup of beef broth
- One tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (or its substitute)
- One-quarter of teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For the peppers:
- 4 large green bell peppers (cut them in half lengthwise and remove the seeds)
- 1 lb. lean ground beef (if you need a grinder, check this out!)
- 1/4 lbs. hot Italian pork sausage (remove the casings)
- 10 ounces of diced tomatoes (you can use the ones from a can)
- Вј of a cup of fresh Italian parsley (chopped)
- 4 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ВЅ a teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper
- 1 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (you can also use more for topping)
The preparation process
- Boil the rice: Put the rice in a saucepan, pour the water over it and bring it all to the boil over high heat. Once it boils, immediately lower the heat to medium-low, cover the rice, and let it simmer for about twenty minutes or until it becomes tender and all the water is gone. When the rice is done, set it aside.
- Prepare the sauce:Pour the olive oil into a skillet and cook the onion over medium heat for about five minutes or until it softens. Set half of the cooked onion aside. Add beef broth, balsamic vinegar, marinara sauce and red pepper flakes to the remaining half of the cooked onion and let it cook for a minute or two while stirring all the time. Pour it into a baking dish (9×13-inch) and set that aside too.
- Prepare the stuffing mixture: Take a large bowl, put the cooked onions you have previously set aside in it, add ground beef and Italian sausage and combine well. Next, add the tomatoes, parsley, garlic, black and cayenne pepper and salt and stir it all until you get a unified mixture. Combine this with the cooked rice and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and you are ready to start stuffing the peppers.
- Stuff the peppers: Stuff the green bell pepper halves one by one and then place them in the dish with the sauce you have previously prepared. Once done, sprinkle some Parmigiano-Reggiano on top, cover the dish with the aluminum foil and bake in the oven pre-heated to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). After 45 minutes, remove the aluminum foil and bake uncovered for an additional twenty minutes or so. The cheese on the top should brown a bit, and the peppers need to be tender.
- My mother used to make her stuffed peppers with green bell peppers ONLY! But you do not have to do that too; I often use the ripe orange or yellow peppers as they have a much sweeter taste. My boys find the green ones bitter as well and avoid eating them; so, if you have kids too, opt for another color, and you will make them love this hearty dish!
- Enjoy the succulent stuffed peppers, but do not make it a habit, especially if you have to mind the calorie intake as one serving of this dish provides more than 300 calories that you will have to burn later on! Thank you for that mom 🙂 !
Why Should You Eat Bell Peppers In The First Place?
Besides adding a sweet flavor to your culinary specialties due to the lack of the fiery capsaicin, bell peppers will add vibrant colors to the dining table and do your health good as well. Eating bell peppers will bring you closer to reaching the daily recommended vegetable intake too.
This vegetable is also a great source of:
- As every member of the pepper family, bell peppers are an excellent source of the precious vitamin C. I bet you already know how significant this vitamin is and how big of a role it has in keeping you healthy. Vitamin C will give you more energy but also help the tissues in your body stay healthy and strong.
- Vitamin C also has an important role in the production of collagen, a valuable protein which makes your skin appear young but also holds the bones, ligaments, tendons, and connective tissues in your body together. There are 120 milligrams of this vitamin in only one cup of chopped green bell peppers and 190 milligrams in the same amount of chopped red bell peppers (another good reason to choose the red bell peppers for stuffing!).
- According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, the daily recommended dose of vitamin C for women is 75 milligrams, while the men need 90 milligrams per day – this means that you will be well protected if you eat a single bell pepper a day!
- Vitamin A is yet another valuable vitamin that we all need! If you eat bell peppers, you will boost the intake of beta-carotene, which is actually a source of vitamin A. The color of the bell peppers is a great indicator of the amount of beta-carotene they have but there is some in the green peppers as well (551 international units of vitamin A per cup). The red bell peppers contain 4,665 IU of vitamin A in a single cup, which is an entire daily requirement and a great victory of red over green.
- Vitamin A is great for your eye-sight but also your skin. It speeds up the circulation and helps the production of new blood cells.
- Bell peppers are a great source of fiber. Eating fiber is very important to maintain a healthy metabolism rate and stay fit. Fiber will help regulate the cholesterol and blood sugar levels, but will also promote healthy digestion and prevent constipation.
- One cup of chopped green bell pepper has 2.5 grams of fiber, and the same amount of red pepper boasts 3.1 grams of fiber. (Red peppers win again!) The recommended fiber intake for a day is 14 grams per every 1,000 calories.
As I have already suggested, stuffed bell peppers are not the healthiest choice you can make when it comes to eating this precious and vitamin-packed vegetable. The good news is that you can eat them raw as well as a part of your favorite salad or even on their own. They can be added to hummus for a healthy snack too. I add them to soups and roast them as an addition to the sandwiches I make for my boys. They are very versatile and easy to combine!
What to serve with stuffed peppers? Find A Perfect Pair For Your Favorite Dish!
If you prepare stuffed peppers with rice and meat as my mother did, then the best accompaniments should be light dishes or salads.
Therefore I suggest the following food and beverages:
1. Crunchy Salad
- Heavy stuffed peppers are well balanced with the light, crunchy salad, so if you were wondering what to serve with stuffed peppers – that is my best answer!
- I usually choose to make some coleslaw salad, but you can make a lettuce and vegetable salad too with a little bit of light vinaigrette. The salad will compliment meat and rice and make the meal a complete palate experience.
2. Green Beans
- Besides the potatoes, this is the easiest accompaniment to make, and it goes super-well with stuffed peppers. Prepare the beans as you usually do and top them with some sauce from my recipe add a stuffed pepper and you have yourself a wholesome and colorful meal (especially if you choose the red pepper).
- Pasta is another easy solution. Cook it according to the instructions on the package, add some butter, pour some sauce and put a stuffed pepper on the top. This is a great way to inspire your kids to eat stuffed peppers too as they would take anything with pasta!
Further Reading: Does Pasta Go Bad?
4. Fried Potatoes
- My mother served stuffed peppers with boiled potatoes, but that is not the only option. Potatoes are so versatile that you can surely make a combination of your own – bake them, fry them, spice them up! I personally prefer them fried with butter as that makes them crunchy but mashed potatoes (with cauliflower) can be a great accompaniment to stuffed peppers as well.
- If you lack time to prepare something to serve with stuffed peppers you can simply serve it with the beverage that compliments this dish the most and that is a sweet wine.
- Red wines are the best partners to the unique tang and earthy flavors of stuffed peppers. The wine should be as sweet as possible as that will mix well with the naturally sweet flavor of bell peppers.
- If you want to simplify things, beer is your solution! It complements the stuffed peppers excellently as well. The opposites attract and so does the bitter beer and sweet bell peppers.
What to serve with stuffed peppers? You now have many options to try at your home and come back and tell me which worked the best for you!
If you are too lazy you can open a bag of chips and give that a try – it really is great with stuffed peppers too!
Maybe you have some pairings that I have not mentioned here; I would love for you to share them in the comments below. 🙂